MOSES PLAN THWARTED: In 1938, Robert Moses, chairman of the Long Island State Park Commission, proposed a comprehensive plan to restore Fire Island after a severe hurricane buffeted the barrier beach. The plan called for an eastern extension of the Ocean Parkway from Fire Island Inlet east to Ponquogue, a new parkway spur along the route of the present-day William Floyd Parkway (Suffolk CR 46), and a new bascule-lift span. However, the Suffolk County Board of Supervisors voted down the $9.3 million "Moses-Andrews" proposal in favor of a less comprehensive plan.
THE NEW SMITH POINT BRIDGE: In July 1955, the Shirley-Mastic Chamber of Commerce invited 12,000 people to break ground for the new Smith Point Bridge to Fire Island. The new one-quarter mile bridge represented the first step by Suffolk County to preserve 810 miles of shore frontage for public purposes. Included in the bridge project was the development of Smith Point County Park, a facility with a beach frontage of 6,000 feet along the Atlantic Ocean. Although the new county park was not of the same scale as the state parks developed by Moses, the park was to include bathing and camping facilities.
The 1,216-foot-long bascule drawbridge, which has a main span of 80 feet, has a double-leaf, steel-deck design. In the closed position, the span has a vertical clearance of 22 feet. The bridge carries two lanes (one lane in each direction) over its 22-foot-wide roadway, which is flanked on each side by sidewalks. The entire structure was built on concrete piles, with a reinforced concrete roadway laid on a steel beam superstructure.
The new Smith Point Bridge, which is the southern terminus of the four-lane William Floyd Parkway (Suffolk CR 46), opened on July 4, 1959. At the dedication ceremonies, Robert Moses, who did not play a direct role in the span's construction, praised Suffolk County officials for their efforts in preserving the beach for public purposes and for building the bridge.